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Offense, Defense

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute shined Friday night in the Milwaukee Bucks 95-90 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. No. 12 came just one rebound short of a double-double, and connected on 5-of-9 shooting for 13 points.

Luc Richard was involved in what Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel called the play of the game:

« The Bucks’ biggest lead of the night was 58-45, and it came as a result of a four-point play. Center Kurt Thomas stripped 76ers point guard Jrue Holiday of the ball, and Brandon Jennings led a fast-break chance that resulted in a basket for Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Philadelphia forward Andre Iguodala was called for a foul, and Mbah a Moute converted the three-point play. When Iguodala complained enough to get a technical, Jennings added one more free throw with 7:29 left in the third quarter. »

On top of a terrific offensive performance, Luc Richard shut down Sixers forward Elton Brand all night. The 76ers star ended the night with just two points on 1-of-7 shooting. Luc talked to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about his strong night:

« I felt like tonight our defense was pretty good early in the game. And I’m just being more aggressive and seeing what the offense gives me. »

DEFENSIVE SWINGMAN ARRIVES
Luc Richard quickly became one of the league’s best and most physical defenders this year.

No. 12 makes it clear that individual stats don’t matter. A tough shot is a tough shot, and at the end of the game, a win in a win, as he told Paul Forrester of Sports Illustrated:

« If someone gets 50 [points] but they had to take tough shots all night, I’m happy with that, especially if we win, » the Bucks’ 6-foot-8 forward said. « It doesn’t matter how much they score, because that’s what they’re going to do, so you just have to make it tough on them. »

His ability to use his body, his feet and his long wingspan make Luc Richard a versatile defender as Head Coach Scott Skiles said:

« It all kind of revolves around his feet. He moves very well laterally, so he can get down and guard smaller people. But he’s not afraid to use his body on bigger people. »

PLAYOFF PREVIEW?
Saturday’s 105-90 loss to the Boston Celtics was a possible playoff preview for the Bucks.

If Milwaukee can clinch the No. 5 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race, the Celts will likely be their first round opponent. Neither team, however, is locked into their spot. Boston is just one game behind the Atlanta Hawks for the No. 3 spot and each team has two games remaining.

Likewise the Bucks are no sure bet for the No. 5 spot as they remain in a deadlock with the Miami Heat, each team sporting an identical 45-35 record with two games to play. The best way for the Bucks to ensure their seeding would be to win out. But that’s easier said than done. Milwaukee closes out the season against the Hawks tonight and the Celtics on Wednesday. One of those two games will be a preview of Milwaukee’s first round series, but it’s not known yet which it will be.

Luc Richard shut down Joe Johnson at the end of the fourth quarter during the Bucks’ last match-up with Atlanta. Luc will look for an encore performance Monday night at home in the Bradley Center as the Bucks try to finish the season strong. Tip-off is at 7:00 CST and you can watch the game on FSN Wisconsin.

The Bucks then get one more look at the Celtics when they close out the regular season in Boston on Wednesday.

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Friday game report: Bucks at 76ers (MJS, April 9, 2010)
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A Week of Pain and Joy

Though they only played two games, the past week may have been one of the most eventful in Milwaukee Bucks franchise history.

After losing Andrew Bogut for the season, the Bucks bounced back against the Bulls and clinched their first playoff appearance since the 2005-2006 season.

Luc Richard Mbah A Moute played well all-around Wednesday night in the team’s 108-89 win over the last-place New Jersey Nets. Luc connected for six points and added three assists and three boards, in just 18 minutes of work.

WEEK IN REVIEW

In case you missed it, check out what else Luc Richard did this week.

4.07.2010 –  Playoff Bound Bucks
Luc is headed to the postseason for the first time in his NBA career and he also checked in on an elite list as ESPN’s John Hollinger named No. 12 to his All-Defensive third team.

Quotable:

« He can check 3s or 4s, inside or out, and remains the league’s most underrated defensive player…If he ever becomes competent offensively he’ll be an All-Defense fixture for the next decade. He’s that good. » – ESPN’s John Hollinger

NEXT UP
The Bucks travel to Philadelphia on Friday night to take on the 76ers. With a win the Bucks have a chance to split the season series and take an extra step toward clinching the No. 5 seed in the playoffs. Tip-off is at 6:00 CST.

Saturday night, the Bucks return home to take on a potential first-round playoff opponent in the Boston Celtics. Milwaukee took down the Celts 86-84 at home March 9.

It will be a big test to see how they play without Bogut against a top-notch team. Tip-off is at 7:30 CST and you can see the game on FSN Wisconsin.

 

Playoff-Bound Bucks

For Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and the Milwaukee Bucks, Tuesday was a night to remember.

When they defeated the Chicago Bulls, 79-74, the Bucks secured a spot in the playoffs for the first time since the 2005-06 season. That made Milwaukee the sixth Eastern Conference team to clinch.

Luc logged four boards and a pair of steals in 16 minutes.

STEPPING UP
The good news was welcomed, particularly since center Andrew Bogut was sidelined just days earlier. With the team’s starting center out for the season, Luc Richard will be looked upon to pick up some of the slack.


Luc holds off Chicago’s Taj Gibson Tuesday night (Getty Images).

Said Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

« Starting power forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, often undersized at 6-8, also will be counted on to help even more with the rebounding chores, along with small forward Delfino. »

DIFFERENCE MAKER
No. 12 played a large role in the Bucks road to the playoffs, bursting on to the scene this year as a defensive specialist, and receiving perhaps the biggest compliment of his NBA career in early January. On Jan. 2, Luc held Kevin Durant to just 10 points after halftime in a 103-97 overtime win.

Afterward, Durant told the Associated Press:

« Nothing different from the first half, » Durant said after being hounded by Milwaukee defensive specialist Luc Richard Mbah a Moute most of the game. « He’s tough to try and score on. »

More recently, Luc locked down on the always dangerous Joe Johnson at the end of a very close game. With just 21 seconds left, Luc Richard entered the game for the sole reason of stopping Johnson. He forced Johnson to take a bad shot and the Bucks took the win, 98-95, said No. 12 to the AP:

« It’s tough [as] he’s got all the tricks with the way he was scoring. We just tried to make it tough for him, make him take tough shots and I did that. »

GETTING HIS DUE
Last week, ESPN’s Maurice Brooks had Luc Richard in fourth place for his personal Defensive Player of the Year list.

This week John Hollinger took a stab at choosing his first, second and third All-Defensive teams on the year, and Luc made an appearance there as well.

Third team: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Milwaukee (-2.90)

He can check 3s or 4s, inside or out, and remains the league’s most underrated defensive player. Right now the only thing preventing him from ranking higher is his offense.

Hollinger went on to say that No. 12 could be an All-Defensive Team fixture for the next decade.

NEXT UP

The Bucks have clinched the playoffs, but with five games left on the schedule, the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference is still up for grabs. Milwaukee returns home tonight to take on the New Jersey Nets, who sport an NBA-worst 11-66 record.

Luc Richard is averaging 7.5 points and 10.5 rebounds in two games against the Nets this year, and the Bucks can take the season sweep with a victory. Game time is 7:00 CST and you can see all the action on FSN Wisconsin.

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All-Defensive Team Picks (ESPN, April 6, 2010)
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A Winning March

The Milwaukee Bucks let one get away Wednesday night, losing 101-98 on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute scored four points on 2-3 shooting, and picked up four rebounds.

Even with their loss, the Bucks remain one of the NBA’s hottest teams. They finished the month of March with an 11-5 record and dating back to mid February have won 17 of 22.

With different players stepping up big every game for Milwaukee, No. 12 has occasionally seen fewer minutes. But Bucks’ Head Coach Scott Skiles wanted to make it clear that he doesn’t see any forthcoming changes in his starting five, as he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

« Some of it is just game- related, and Ers (Ilyasova) is playing well. We’re still a team that has lot of interchangeable parts, and we try our best to use them all. Sometimes we’re not playing as well in a game, and that determines the lineup. He (Mbah a Moute) has had a couple tough games around the basket. He’s had some put-backs he normally would make and missed them. There’s no reason for us to change anything yet. »

WEEK IN REVIEW
In case you missed Luc Richard’s performances this week, here’s what happened:

3.30.2010 –  Fans Give Thanks
Several lucky Bucks fan got the chance to meet Luc Richard Sunday night, following a Twitter contest. No. 12 was on hand to give out « Moute Kicks Boute » shirts as well as tickets to Milwaukee’s 108-103 overtime win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Quotable:

« Real people do real things. A great guy and I’m proud to have a guy like Luc on the Milwaukee Bucks. Fear the Deer! Moute Kicks Boute – Luc Fan, Timothy Williams

3.31.2010 – Doing It On D
ESPN analyst Maurice Brooks broke down the Defensive Player of The Year race, listing Luc fourth on his ballot.. No. 12 also helped the Bucks’ win over the Los Angeles Clippers with eight points, five boards and two assists.

Quotable:

« If you’re looking for a versatile defender who can cover four positions, rebound, block shots and lock down on the opponent’s top scorer, he’s your man. » – Maurice Brooks on Luc’s legitimate candidacy for DPOY. »

NEXT UP
This weekend will ba a challenge for the Bucks as they face a pair of playoff-bound teams.

Tonight, the Bucks head east to Charlotte for a battle of Eastern Conference playoff contenders. The Bobcats are currently No. 7 in the Eastern Conference standings but need a few crucial wins down the stretch in order to clinch a spot.

Luc Richard has seen plenty of success this year against the Bobcats, averaging 10.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in two games played. No. 12 missed the team’s first match-up against the Cats, a 95-88 win. Tip-off is at 6:00 CST and you can see the game on FSN Wisconsin.

The Bucks make a brief return home Saturday night to take on the red-hot Phoenix Suns. Luc’s effort was good for six points and five rebounds on Jan. 11 vs. the Suns, but Milwaukee lost the heart breaker 105-101. Tip-off is at 7:30 CST and you can catch the action on FSN Wisconsin.

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Doing It On D

There are many things that Luc Richard Mbah A Moute does in a given NBA game that don’t ever show up in a box score.

But those that watch this Buck play know what to look for.

Luc Richard has been getting attention for his defensive merits all season and as the season closes and the awards race heats up, No. 12 is getting mention in the Defensive Player of the Year award category.

In a recent ESPN column, Maurice Brooks takes a shot at predicting the league’s biggest awards. Sitting at No. 4 in the DPOY category is Luc Richard, said Brooks:

“4. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Bucks: If you’re looking for a versatile defender who can cover four positions, rebound, block shots and lock down on the opponent’s top scorer, he’s your man.

Kevin Durant named Mbah a Moute one of the toughest defenders in the league after the Bucks roughed up KD for 48 minutes back in January.”

No. 12 once again played a strong role last night in the Milwaukee Bucks’ 107-89 win over the Los Angeles Clippers. Along with his solid defense, No. 12 shot 50 percent from the field, finishing with eight points and two assists.

Luc continued his streak of keeping plays alive for the Bucks on Tuesday, racking up four more offensive rebounds (5 total). Over his last three games, Luc has pulled down 20 rebounds, 14 of which have come on the offensive side of the ball.

FEAR THE DEER
In a recent column for USA Today, Mike Dodd looks at the Bucks’ postseason aspirations and sees a reason for optimism in Milwaukee that hasn’t been around in a long time:

After eight consecutive seasons with 40 or more losses, the Milwaukee Bucks no longer resemble an organization staring blindly into the headlights.

One of the NBA’s hottest teams, the Bucks (41-32) could clinch their first playoff berth in four years this weekend and appear primed to make it an annual appearance after nearly two decades of false starts.

They have won 17 of their last 21 after Tuesday’s victory at home against the Los Angeles Clippers, stood fifth in the Eastern Conference and even have spawned a slogan that is catching on all over town, « Fear the Deer. »

« They’re deceptively good, » Atlanta Hawks guard Maurice Evans said after the Bucks beat them last week in a possible preview of a playoff matchup. « You look at their roster … and you say, ‘This isn’t a team that’s going to win a championship or go deep in the playoffs.’ But somehow they’re still able to contend and earn that respect. »

Luc and his mates can make a real statement in the Fear the Deer campaign tonight when they travel to Cleveland to take on the Cavaliers and Lebron James.

No. 12 dropped a double, double (10 points, 11 rebounds) in a 92-85 win over the Cavaliers at home March 6. Tip-off is 6:00 p.m. CST and you can check out the game on FSN Wisconsin.

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Luc Stars on the Glass

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and the Milwaukee Bucks split a pair of home games this weekend, taking down the Memphis Grizzlies in a 108-103 overtime win, after dropping Friday night’s game to the Miami Heat, 87-74.

Luc Richard scored six points, but was a star on the offensive glass. Over the two weekend games, No. 12 grabbed 10 offensive rebounds.

Alex Boeder of Brew Hoop acknowledged Luc’s up-and-down night in the “Three Bucks” portion of Friday’s game report.

« Luc Mbah a Moute. Twelve points in the last three games, and that’s an aggregate, not an average. The Principal was full of rebounds and misses tonight, unable to put back the put-backs. Eight offensive rebounds is just terrific, 2-11 from the field, not so much. Mbah a Moute entered the night shooting 64.2 % at the rim, but this won’t help. Looks like 1-10 from what the ESPN box score terms « 0 feet » from the hoop. »

NEXT UP
Luc Richard and the Bucks get a chance at revenge Tuesday night when they take on the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Bucks lost 101-93 to L.A. on St. Patrick’s Day, a loss that snapped a six-game win streak. Tip-off is 7:00 CST at the Bradley Center and you can watch the action on FSN Wisconsin.

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The Stopper

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute was business as usual this week, stopping Atlanta Hawks’ Joe Johnson on the team’s final two possessions securing a win for the Milwaukee Bucks, and swiping three steals in Wednesday’s loss to the 76ers.

Week in Review
In case you missed Luc Richard’s performances this week, here’s what happened:

3.23.2010 – Locking Down Johnson

Luc did what he does best…shut down stars, limiting Atlanta’s Joe Johnson twice in the final minute to secure a crucial victory for Milwaukee.

Quotable:

« It’s tough sometimes when you’re not in the game and your name gets called. But that’s the situation I’m in and you’ve got to embrace it and do your job. I just go out there and do what I do best, play defense. I just try to make it tough for them and it worked for us. My size always helps me out when I’m going against guards or wing players. » – Luc Richard

3.25.2010 – A Rare Home Loss
Luc’s five points, five boards and three steals went for naught in a loss to Philadelphia.

Quotable:

« While this wasn’t his finest hour, he was fine in 15 minutes, so it’s difficult to understand why Mbah a Moute didn’t play more. Elton Brand was a non-factor, The Prince came up with three steals in limited burn, and the rest of the Bucks couldn’t stop anyone. They needed points to keep up, but Luc made his way to the hoop for a couple baskets including a dunk early. » – Alex Boeder, Brew Hoop

NEXT UP
Luc Richard and the Bucks go for the season sweep against their Eastern Conference-rival, the Miami Heat.

Tip-off is tonight at 7:30 CST and you can see the game on FSN Wisconsin.

 

A Rare Home Loss

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute was strong despite limited minutes, but the Milwaukee Bucks suffered a rare home loss Wednesday to the Philadelphia 76ers, 101-86.

No. 12 was used sparingly, but played well on both sides of the ball while on the court. Luc scored four points early in the game, finishing with five, and swiped three steals.

Brew Hoop’s Alex Boeder wondered with Luc playing well, why he didn’t play more:

« While this wasn’t his finest hour, he was fine in 15 minutes, so it’s difficult to understand why Mbah a Moute didn’t play more. Elton Brand was a non-factor, The Prince came up with three steals in limited burn, and the rest of the Bucks couldn’t stop anyone. They needed points to keep up, but Luc made his way to the hoop for a couple baskets including a dunk early. »

DESIGNATED DEFENDER
Luc Richard knows that if you want to be the best, you have to guard the best.

In a recent piece Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote about coach Scott Skiles’ decision to challenge No. 12 with assignments on some of the top scorers in the league:

« Bucks forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute draws some tough assignments. In Milwaukee’s two previous games he was counted on to stop Denver’s Carmelo Anthony and Atlanta’s Joe Johnson with the games on the line. »

Luc was on Johnson in crunch time and came up aces, twice denying Johnson a good look and helping secure a crucial win for the Bucks against Atlanta.

« I just didn’t want to give him any space; he’s very crafty, » Mbah a Moute said. « I just tried to make him drive because I knew I had the help under the basket. »

No. 12 has been the designated defender from his arrival as a rookie. After a few practices, coach Scott Skiles said that Luc Richard was the team’s best defender. Luc’s defense is aided by his length, including a pair of long arms that can alter the shot of any player he finds himself defending.

« I love doing it and I want to be one of the best in the league at playing defense, » the 6-foot-8 Mbah a Moute said. « I’m going to continue to strive and have my teammates helping me like they always have. »

NEXT UP
The Bucks look to shake off a big loss, when they take on an Eastern Conference-rival in the Miami Heat.

Luc Richard dropped nine points and grabbed seven rebounds on Feb. 27 against the Heat and with a win, Milwaukee will take the season sweep. Tip-off is at 7:30 CST and you can see the game on FSN Wisconsin.

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Recap: Sixers 101, Bucks 86 (Brew Hoop, March 25, 2010)
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Locking Down Johnson

When they needed a defender to lockdown an opposing superstar in crunch time, the Milwaukee Bucks turned to Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

Milwaukee avenged a Feb. 28 overtime loss in Atlanta, taking down the visiting Hawks last night, 98-95, with stout defense in the final minutes.

No. 12 dropped two points, but he still made the difference in the game. After 17 minutes on the bench at the end of the game, he was called upon to do what he does best.

Atlanta star Joe Johnson drew Luc Richard on defense during the team’s last two possessions. Tom Enlund of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel described the plays:

« Two free throws by Salmons tied the game at 95-95 with 1:05 left, and Johnson missed a jumper over Mbah a Moute. Ridnour missed a jumper from the foul line but chased down a long rebound, and Salmons was fouled and made two free throws with 21.8 seconds left.

Coming out of a timeout, Johnson was again closely guarded by Mbah a Moute and ran the clock down before missing from the baseline. Ridnour made 1 of 2 free throws with 5 seconds left and Crawford missed a long three at the buzzer. »

Luc was on the bench when Kobe Bryant drained a game-winner over the Bucks on Dec. 16. But this time No. 12 got the call. Luc was ready to go in the time of need:

« It’s tough sometimes when you’re not in the game and your name gets called. But that’s the situation I’m in and you’ve got to embrace it and do your job. I just go out there and do what I do best, play defense. I just try to make it tough for them and it worked for us. My size always helps me out when I’m going against guards or wing players. »

PLAYOFF BOUND BUCKS
After winning 15 of their last 17, the Bucks trip to the playoffs seems inevitable, but their magic number is still eight and the Bucks know the importance of finishing strong.

At 39-30, Milwaukee has found a home in the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference. Luc Richard attributes the team’s success to poise:

« It’s just confidence. We have a lot of confidence. We always feel like we can win. Sometimes we start the game real well and we don’t have to fight so hard. But sometimes we start the game slow like today, but we have that confidence that we can find our way and we’ve been doing that. We don’t talk about it. It’s just a feel. Guys know the system now and they trust it. »

NEXT UP
Luc and the Bucks have a day to come down from their big win over the Hawks before they get back to work on Wednesday night when the Philadelphia 76ers visit Milwaukee.

The Bucks have split two games with the Sixers thus far, but have a chance to clinch take the lead in the season series with a win. Tip-off is at 7:00 CST and the game can be seen on FSN Wisconsin.

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Luc Shines in Denver Win

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and the Milwaukee Bucks shook off a Wednesday night loss to the Clippers, and bounced back with two straight road wins over the weekend.

Luc connected on 3-7 shooting, and was a perfect 6-6 from the free-throw line in Saturday night’s 102-97 win over Denver. No. 12 finished with 12 points, six boards and two assists.

Bucksketball called Saturday night « the signature road win you hear so much about. » With Andrew Bogut in early foul trouble, the Bucks stepped up big to defeat one of the Western Conference’s best teams, as Jeremy described it:

« The collective efforts of Delfino, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Salmons, Brandon Jennings and Thomas were terrific. With Bogut’s minutes limited due to foul trouble, the Bucks were allowing more offensive rebounds than they usually do, but somehow were able to keep it together defensively. »

Added Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

« But the Milwaukee Bucks captured one of their signature victories of a captivating season as they stunned the West’s No. 2 team, the Denver Nuggets, and used stifling defense to grab a 102-97 decision at the Pepsi Center on Saturday night. »

DE-THRONED
The Bucks opened the weekend in Sacramento where they took out the homebound Kings 114-108 on Friday night.

No. 12 scored four points on 2-4 from the field and pulled in five boards, but he did his best work on defense where he swiped three steals and registered a block to help the Bucks to victory.

A TOUGH COVER
Luc Richard got the call Saturday to try and shut down one of the league’s most prolific scorers in Carmelo Anthony.

As Gardner wrote, Luc did his job with help from his friends:

« The Bucks used a team effort to try to stymie Anthony, making him earn his points on 10-of-29 shooting. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute guarded him in the fourth quarter, and Salmons and Delfino also took turns against the Denver forward. »

Luc Richard has a lot of respect for Carmelo, and credited his teammates for helping to pick up the slack as he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

« He’s a tough player. He’s one of the top candidates for the MVP. He’s got the whole repertoire. He’s so skilled and you’re going to need your whole team to stop a player like that. Every time I thought I was beat, someone was there, Kurt taking charges and Ersan (Ilyasova). »

NEXT UP
From February 19th to March 14th, the Bucks won 12 of 13 games.

The only loss that kept them from a sparkling 13-game winning streak was a 106-102 overtime defeat to the Atlanta Hawks. The Bucks have now won 14 of 16 and have another chance at Atlanta tonight in Milwaukee.

The Hawks just clinched a playoff spot but Luc Richard and the Bucks can simultaneously avenge that lone loss and spoil Atlanta’s clinch party. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 CST and the game can be seen on FSN Wisconsin.

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The Road Home

Luc Richard Mbah A Moute and the Milwaukee Bucks watched their six-game winning streak come to an unlikely end with a 101-93 loss Wednesday night to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Luc connected for six points, but was all over the backboard and secured eight rebounds, second most on the team.

But he did his best work on the offensive glass.

Of the 13 offensive rebounds between the two teams, No. 12 came down with five of them. Only one other player had more than one offensive rebound.

While the loss ended Milwaukee’s six-game winning streak, they’ve still won 12 of their last 14, with two six-game winning streaks broken up by a loss in Atlanta on February 28 and Wednesday night’s loss to LA.

ROAD TRIP
The Bucks will be primed to start another long win streak this weekend as they wrap up their Western Conference road trip with stops in Sacramento and Denver.

Friday night, Luc Richard and the Bucks travel to Sacramento for a 9:00 CST tip-off against the Kings.

The Kings (23-45) have been inconsistent all year, but have seen stellar play from Rookie of the Year-candidate Tyreke Evans (20.3PPG, 5.6APG). Luc’s teammate Brandon Jennings may be Evans’ biggest competition for the year-end award.

Luc scored 14 points against the Kings, shooting 5-5 from the field in the last meeting between the two teams.

Saturday night, Milwaukee looks to take down the Northwest-leading Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets have won eight of their last nine games and could be a true test for the surging Bucks.

Luc just missed out on a double-double in the Bucks last meeting with Denver on November 11 in Milwaukee. He scored 10 points, but pulled in only nine rebounds. Saturday night’s game tips off at 8 p.m. CST and both games can be seen on FSN Wisconsin.

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Another Red Hot Weekend

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and the Milwaukee Bucks flexed their muscle this weekend, continuing their hunt for a playoff berth.

The Bucks rode a four-game win streak into an inter-conference matchup against the red-hot Utah Jazz on Friday. Both teams entered the game in the thick of their respective conference’s playoff hunt and although the Jazz held an eight-win advantage entering the game, that didn’t matter to Milwaukee.

Luc grabbed six rebounds, chipped in four points and had a steal as the Bucks dispatched the Utah Jazz, 95-87, on Friday night.

But that was only the beginning of the weekend and Milwaukee finished it just as strong, taking care of the Indiana Pacers 98-94 on Sunday night. Sunday night’s win was the Bucks’ fourth of the season over the Pacers and the sixth win in a row marked the team’s second streak of at least six straight victories in the last month.

Luc Richard, who dropped 10 points and grabbed six boards against the Pacers, downplayed the team’s recent success, speaking to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

« I think it’s a tough game just because it’s an early game and after all those big wins we had in a week, it might be hard to focus. But that’s why we need to pick up our focus even higher to make sure we finish the week up strong. And we need to do that because if you don’t do it then those wins we got earlier in the week won’t matter. »

CORE VALUES
The Bucks’ core group of players continues to excel with every game played together, and are garnering national attention under the defensive tutelage of coach Scott Skiles, as noted by FOX Sports:

Here are the ingredients of Scott Skiles favorite recipe for playing defense

« Quick hands constantly sniping the passing lanes. Perpetual hustle coupled with in-your-face aggression. Overplaying perimeter ball-handlers and forcing them into help spots. Nearby perimeter defenders flashing in and out of driving lanes to discourage quick ball-penetrations. Fairly efficient baseline rotations…Although he was out-sized by Mehmet Okur, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute never backed off. »

NEXT UP
Luc and the Bucks will put their six-game win streak on the line Wednesday night against the Clippers.

It’s the team’s first road game after being at home for the past four. Tip-off is at 9:30 CST and you can catch all the action on ESPN and FSN Wisconsin.

RELATED STORIES

Bucks downplay significance of Cleveland, Boston, Utah wins (MJS, March 13, 2010)
http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/sports/fanblogs/87561907.html
Bucks finally have a bright future (FOX News, March 13,2010)
http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2010/03/13/bucks-finally-bright-future/

 

We’re on a Roll

We’ve been on this great run lately and it’s just a product of a group of guys learning to play together. We’re coming together as a team, finding ways to win. Having guys like John Salmons and Jerry Stackhouse in the lineup has also been good for us.

Stack is a veteran and it’s great having him on the team because he knows how to win. He understands the game so well and he only helps all the other guys around him. He’s teaching us the way to go in every game. He’s also been shooting the ball pretty well and he’s a guy we can send down into the post to get a basket for us. It’s always good to have a veteran like him on the team. He’s been good for our team.


« [Coach Skiles] has a great attitude as a tough, hard-nosed guy. » (Getty Images)

A big reason that we’re winning has been the team coming together and gelling. Everybody is developing a solid chemistry and we’re going to need that to continue winning and go far.

Brandon Jennings has been a big part of that. From the start of this season he has been playing really well. Even when he’s not shooting well, he’s always running the team, making plays. I think he’s been tremendous and the future is bright for him. We need him to continue to play at that level for us to be good.

I’ve been understanding the offense better as the season goes on. I know now where my shots are going to come from. I’ve also been being more aggressive, trying to make plays for the team. My teammates are finding me in the flow of the game. Running the floor, the guys usually do a good job of finding me when I’m open.

Everybody has figured out what they need to do in order for us to be good. Whether it’s defending, or running the team as Brandon does, getting back and getting rebounds like Andrew Bogut and John Salmons usually do. Everybody is finding their role within our system and that’s been good for us.

Coach Skiles has certainly been the glue to that. This summer he told us we were going to have a good year this year. He said we were going to be under the radar. You just have to keep working hard and trust him because he knows what he’s doing. He has a great attitude as a tough, hard-nosed guy. He’s created that same attitude within our team and that’s been good for us, helping us to the success we’ve had so far.

All the work has paid off and I appreciate all that he does. Coach makes practices hard. Right now, we don’t really go as hard because it is March and he knows it’s not the time to be banging bodies or anything like that. But practice is always very focused, very business-like. We come in, do what we’re supposed to do, go hard and then go home.

That focus has prepared us for what we’re facing as we try to get into the playoffs right now. It’s been good. What you go through in a tough practice, guys going hard at each other, it definitely prepares you for the way it will be on the floor later in the season. Practice is the foundation of what we do. Some people say you play like you practice. So if we practice hard and practice well then you should play well.

THE STOPPER
A lot of people say that I’m becoming one of the best defenders in the league and defense has always been important to me.

I take a lot of pride in my defense. That’s what I do best and that’s what the team needs to do in order for us to be good. Every time I’m out there, I try to do my best to try and defend at a high level. Coach has put a lot of trust in me, guarding some of the best players in the league every time I go out there.


Taking a loose ball from Elton Brand (Getty Images).

But defending is something you can’t do by yourself. My teammates have been doing a good job of helping me. Every time I’m beat or I’m a step slow, they’re right there to pick me up, so that has been helpful.

I had to defend Kevin Garnett the other night and he is one player that makes defense difficult. Those types of players, you can’t really stop them. You just have to contain them as much as possible and try to make it tough for them. But I don’t think you can stop a player like Garnett when he’s on.

But again, it becomes a whole team concept. I’m smaller than him so he can overpower me. But when my teammates are there to come down and help, it makes it much easier.

One of the tougher players to defend that doesn’t get enough credit for it is Brandon Roy. I keep saying it, but that guy is one of the toughest guys to guard. He plays very well within their system and he’s very good at doing what he needs to in order to score the basketball. He does it in a variety of different ways. When he’s on, man he’s tough to guard.

But I’ll always try to stop him from scoring. You just have to try and do whatever you can, give him different looks, make it tough on him. It gets physical and I use my length, anything to make it tough. Usually it works.

There’s definitely a mental aspect to guarding scorers like that too. When you go against those guys you have to be mentally ready. It’s important to be mentally tough because they’re going to make tough shots and you can’t get down on yourself. They’re going to score. Those guys, that’s what they do best. You have to just keep at it and try to make it tough for the whole night. Hopefully your teammates can do a good job of helping you and you pick up the win.

STILL CRAZIE, KICKING BOUTE
Everyone needs to check out my spreadshirt store and pick up one of my « Moute Kicks Boute » or « Cameroon Crazies » shirts.

I want Bucks fans to get into the spirit just the way my fans did at UCLA. It’s something that I enjoyed when I was in college, a lot. In college, I didn’t have my family with me, so those Cameroon Crazies, those fans, were like my family in a way.

I don’t know who started it, but it just established itself. I just came in and looked at the stands one day and they were there with the Cameroon flag and jerseys. It was just a group of students who really liked me and my teammate Alfred Aboya. They wanted to show their love and appreciation.

They were always there in the stands cheering for me, waving the flag, writing my name on their bodies and all that crazy stuff they used to do. Obviously you can’t help but be appreciative of what they did and I still am to this day. That’s why I wanted to bring that culture to the Bucks.

It is a different culture because in college guys are really into it a little more. You can have people from all over the world coming to one college. In the pros it’s just about that city. But it’s the same concept you have guys cheering for your team and supporting the players that they love. It’s much the same thing in a way.

Hopefully some of you fans like the shirts enough to pick one up and show your support. I’m sure you will.

It’s been a tough season for my UCLA Bruins, but they’re rebuilding. They’ve had a tough year, losing a lot of guys to the NBA. It might take them a couple years to rebuild, but hopefully they’ll be back.

I still keep in touch with some of my UCLA teammates and when we see each other it’s always good. We talk about everybody’s season, UCLA and we reminisce on the good times we had playing there. That’s something I love, seeing someone I played with on the other side. I keep up with them and watch some of their games to see how they’re doing.

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
I also like getting to know some of my fellow international players in the league.


Made famous at UCLA, « Moute Kicks Boute » shirts — and a whole bunch of others — have made their way to Milwaukee.

We have a lot of international players on our team as it is and I’ve gotten to know some of the international players on the other teams. Every time we play each other we say hello and check up on each other to see how each other is adjusting and everything like that. We watch out for each other.

Last week I had a once in a lifetime experience. We were in Washington D.C. to play the Wizards on Friday and earlier that day I was invited to the Cameroonian embassy in Washington to meet the ambassador.

It was very cool. Very few people get that privilege to meet the ambassador like I did. To be at the embassy and recognized as an ambassador of Cameroon in the United States, I was really appreciative of that. I hope to continue to work with the embassy. I want other international athletes, especially athletes from Cameroon and Africa to go back to their embassies to try and develop that relationship. It’s important to work with them and help each other out.

The growth of basketball in Cameroon and Africa has always been important to me.

Whenever I go home, people definitely recognize me. I would hope it keeps growing. I’m very concerned about basketball growing in Africa and it has been growing actually. You look at all the stuff that the NBA is doing over there with Basketball Without Borders and all the stuff the stuff that FIBA is doing.

Basketball is going to continue to grow as long as guys like me, Luol Deng and all the African players in the NBA keep going back and doing things, along with the NBA and FIBA.

It means a lot to me that I can use the platform that I’ve been given to make a difference in Africa. That’s what, to me, it’s all about, impacting other people with what we do. Every time you step out on the court or go out in the community, you feel like you’ve impacted other people and for me especially, impacted the people back home. It’s always a plus. The more that we can impact those peoples lives, the better the world is going to be, that’s the way I look at it.

With that in mind, I’m going to be going back to Cameroon this summer and I’m running a camp for some of the players there. There are very few basketball camps happening back in Africa, especially in Cameroon, so my camp will be there this summer from June 4th to 6th.

I’m going to be bringing in the top 50 players from the country and we’re going to put them through a three-day camp. The top 5 students out of the camp are going to go to Basketball Without Borders and we’re going to try and get them scholarships to come to the United States and kind of do the same thing I did, go to school and get an education.

After being here for so long, with college and now being in the NBA, I feel like it’s only right to have a camp and help basketball grow in Cameroon.

WORLD CUP WATCH
Even though basketball is growing in my home country, it’s still well behind soccer.

Soccer is like a religion in Cameroon. I grew up playing soccer and everybody plays there. You can’t help but become a soccer fan. I didn’t start playing basketball until I was 15.

I’m still a huge soccer fan and I’m going to the World Cup this summer with the Cameroonian national team. I’m always involved and I’m always talking about the UEFA Champions league and other soccer events on my Twitter. I’m a big soccer fan.

I really wanted to go to the World Cup because I think its going to be a wonderful experience, the first time ever they have the World Cup in Africa. It’s going to be something special and I wouldn’t want to miss it.

I also play some FIFA Soccer on the PS3. I’m pretty good. I usually play leagues with my friends from overseas or here in the United States. We just play when I’m free and it’s a good time. One of these days I might give you guys my gamer tag on my Twitter so follow me @mbahamoute!

 

Luc, Defense Down Celts

No. 12 and the Milwaukee Bucks are quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference . Tuesday night, they proved their mettle with a come-from-behind win over one of the East’s top teams.

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and the Bucks improved to 34-29 on Tuesday night with an 86-84 victory over the perennial Eastern Conference title contending Boston Celtics.

With the home win, Milwaukee solidified its hold on the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race, and Boston is a team they could see come playoff time.

The Bucks were keyed by their continued superb play on the defensive side of the ball against Boston. That strong defense, limiting the Celtics to less than 85 points for only the third time this season, led Milwaukee to their 10th win in their last 11 games, as Head Coach Scott Skiles conveyed to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

« We were really sharp on the defensive end. It was not an easy game for us, it was back and forth, a physical game…we needed our defense to keep us in the game, and it did. »

No. 12 added two points to his four rebounds and played tight defense, marking up on Celtics veteran power forward Kevin Garnett, said Alex Boeder of Brew Hoop:

« Garnett (14/10) was a tough cover, but Luc Mbah a Moute and the Bucks mostly held him in check and KG only made one bucket in the final 16 minutes of regulation. »

Luc secured three crucial rebounds in the third quarter, allowing the Bucks to keep pace with the Cs before finally pulling away late.

NEXT UP

Luc and the Bucks look for their fifth win in a row when they take on Carlos Boozer and the Utah Jazz at home in the Bradley Center Friday night. Tip-off is at 7:30 CST and you can catch all the action on FSN Wisconsin.

RELATED STORIES
Recap: Bucks 86, Celtics 84 (Brew Hoop, March 9,2010)
http://www.brewhoop.com/2010/3/10/1363704/recap-bucks-86-celtics-84
Bucks’ victory comes with emphasis (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 9, 2010)
http://www.jsonline.com/sports/bucks/87189427.html